Fine Balance Bodyworks
About Massage

History of Massage

(source ABMP pdf file, posted on the Quantum Touch website)

 Swedish Massage

 Stone Massage

 Chair Massage

 Polarity Balancing

History of Massage  Massage has been used for healing since ancient times; indeed, it appears to be an instinctual behavior in animal and humans in response to pain or injury. For example, a mother will rub her child's upset stomach to relieve pain, or rub a bruise to help it heal. This is a perfect example of using touch for healing.

Therapeutic massage seems to have been developed in China over 4,000 years ago. Through the centuries, since its first mention in writing around 2000 BC, massage has been part of manual medicine (using the hands for healing). Cultures as diverse as Egyptian, Indian, Greek, Persian, African, Eskimo, and Japanese have all developed forms of therapeutic massage. In fact, the word "massage" has roots in Sanskrit, one of the oldest written languages.

Manual medicine includes other forms of healing touch, such as acupuncture, acupressure, and Hatha yoga. It is also the foundation of the Western modalities of osteopathy, chiropractic, and physical therapy. Manual medicine also includes traditional spiritual healing touch such as anointing, laying on of hands, and ceremonial rituals performed by shamans or healing priests.

Chinese healers of ancient times apparently understood the blood circulation and lymph systems of the human body, since their methods of acupuncture and massage work with these systems to promote healing. The Chinese introduced these techniques to Japan and India almost 3000 years ago, where they have been modified and used ever since. The native people of South America and the Arctic have also used massage for healing for centuries.

Hippocrates of Cos was the first Greek physician to specifically describe the medical benefits of massage, and another Greek physician, Claudius Galenus, left a wealth of written material on the subject. The Romans learned from the Greeks, and a Roman physician, Aulus Cornelius Celsus compiled the medical knowledge of the time into an eight-volume collection, seven of which deal extensively with manual techniques. It is interesting to note that De Medicina, as it was titled, later became one of the most popular medical textbooks in Europe-during the Renaissance, more than 1400 years after it was written!

Manual medicine was a mainstay of Eastern medicine and was kept alive throughout much of the Islamic Empire. It was also an integral part of the folk healing traditions of the common people of Europe until the Middle Ages, when the Church took a dim view of these practices, associating them with supernatural experiences and persecuting practitioners.

Massage came back into favor in the sixteenth century and was prescribed by French physician Ambrose Paré, one of the founders of modern surgery, as a method of relieving joint stiffness and healing surgery wounds.

Swedish Massage  Swedish massage is probably the form best known by Westerners. It combines various forms of kneading, stroking, stretching, and applying pressure. It was developed as part of an integrated system for the treatment of disease by Per Henrik Ling in the early 1800s. Ling combined positions and movements of Swedish gymnastics with exercises to heal his own gouty elbow. He developed his "medical gymnastics" and began teaching it systematically in 1814. Since he was not a doctor and he tended to present his material in mystical language, he was scorned by the Swedish medical establishment for almost 20 years.

Although Ling did not invent Swedish massage, the popularity of his health program certainly brought it to the world's attention. He was eventually granted a license to practice and teach his method, and went on to teach many physicians throughout Europe and Russia.

Per Ling's system continued to grow in popularity, and spread throughout Europe. It was brought to the United States by two brothers who learned the system from Dr. Mathias Roth, a student of Ling's and a leader in the homeopathic movement. The founder of the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium, John Harvey Kellogg, was so convinced of the physical benefits of massage that it was included in the daily regimen for all the facility's clients.

In the 20th century, massage gained widespread acceptance as a form of relaxation and a healing technique. As education and licensing requirements were developed and refined, the field of massage therapy was gradually accepted by the professional medical community as a legitimate form of alternative health care. It is considered especially useful for health maintenance, illness prevention, and stress relief.

As Swedish massage gained legitimacy within the medical profession in the U.S., other forms of massage therapy began to see greater acceptance as well. By the later part of the 20th century, the alternative health care movement helped bring the variety of benefits from the many forms of "hands-on" healing to a widespread audience. Today, it is easier than ever before to find a qualified massage therapist, and be assured that their training is part of a standardized set of criteria.

Stone Massage  Hot stone massage dates back thousand of years and has even been described as the technique used to stimulate acupoints and meridians prior to the use of accupunture.
Smooth heated basalt stones are used in a variety of techniques that include presicion placement, light gentle stroking, muscle stretching and compression which results in a very soothing and therapeutic treatment.

Chair Massage  By focusing on the areas of the body that, in most people, hold the most tension, a chair massage often provides as much relaxation as a full body massage.

A chair massage is a convenient way to receive a shorter version of a full massage. The client remains fully clothed, and sits in a chair that is specially designed to comfortably support the head, arms, and knees. The therapist works on the upper back, shoulders, neck, head, and hands. Generally, no massage oil is used, and the massage lasts anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.

Chair massages are often done at demonstrations, or at such places as airports and malls, and are an excellent alternative for people who may not have time for a full body massage. They also work well as an introduction to massage, or for those who prefer to remain fully clothed.

Here at Fine Balance Bodyworks, we have a nice selection of chair massages available. If your schedule doesn't always allow for a full massage, choose one of our "quick relief" chair massages-you'll be amazed how much better you'll feel in just 15 minutes!

Some of our popular choices are to relieve tension in the neck and shoulders or the lower back. If you're one to work on computers or do painting or even work in the garden, just having your hands, arms and shoulders massaged for a few minutes will bring instant relief. We can also tailor the massage to fit your specific needs.

Polarity Therapy  Polarity Balancing is a complex system that combines Eastern and Western modalities to provide general renewal to the body's physical and energy systems. This technique was developed by a chiropractor, Dr. Randolph Stone, who learned about the Hindu system of Ayurvedic medicine while serving as a physician to a yogi.

By combining his knowledge of these two systems, Dr. Stone developed polarity balancing, which includes massage, breathing, pressure-point stimulation, and movement to intensify the flow of electromagnetic energy through the body.

Based on the concept that the human body has a bipolar energy current, polarity balancing seeks to do just what the name suggests: balance the negative and positive currents by stimulating opposing energy points.

As the client relaxes on the massage table, the therapist applies pressure to two opposing energy points, which stimulates and rebalances the energy flow between them. The therapist generally uses gentle thumb or finger pressure to start, and increases pressure as the client's body relaxes.

Polarity balancing can relieve chronic blocks of tension in muscles, bones, and organs, which in turn releases emotional blockages associated with those tensions. Combined with chiropractic manipulation, exercise, and proper diet, these techniques can lead to a more energized, healthy, and balanced life.


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